Monday, February 15, 2010

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways will be shortly officially announcing the launch of new nonstop flights to South America namely São Paulo and Buenos Aires. The flight will be launched on 30th May and shall be operated daily using a Boeing 777-200LR with the routing being DOH-GRU-EZE. QR will also enjoy 5th freedom traffic rights on the GRU-EZE-GRU sector. The flight schedule is as follows:

Days of operation: DAILY

QR921 DOH 0800 Arr GRU 1700 /// QR 921 Dep GRU 1840 Arr EZE 2130

QR 922 Dep EZE 0035 Arr GRU 0325 /// QR 922 Dep GRU 0440 Arr DOH 0040+1

Qatar Airways has officially confirmed that it will be increasing its flights to Dhaka, Bangladesh from March 28th onwards. Currently, it operats a daily service using a mixture of A 333s and A 332s, however this shall be increased to 11 times per week using a 2 class configured A 332 for all of the flights. The additional 4 weekly flights allow for the first time Dhaka to be connected via DOH to all USA and European destinations in both directions which shall definitely help increase loads to JFK and IAH in particular.


Its quite evident that QR want to get into EZE before EK does which is good. However realistically speaking, does anyone really think that QR has even a remote chance of making money flying this route or let alone break even? The answer to that question is no! These 2 B 777-200LRs would be better served flying daily DOH-ORD-DOH rather than to Latin America just because of the logic that EK flies there hence QR must follow suit! Apart from this, the focus should also be to get ADD online due to the huge O&D market that exists between DOH and ADD along with the 6th freedom traffic potential bound to IAD, UK, ATH, India, China and BKK in particular. A daily A 320 between DOH and ADD would be ideal to serve the needs of this market segment initially.

As one can make out from the flight schedule, the main target market is Far East Asia passengers via DOH and a little bit of GCC bound traffic as well. From Brazil to Far East, QR will face stiff competition from EK/AC/LH/AF/TK/SAA/BA/KL which will further dilute yields and market share of every one. FYI, QR's B 77Ls seat 259 in a 2 class (J/Y) configuration i.e. 42J + 217Y.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines
has officially announced that they have placed a mega order with Boeing this week for the purchase of 35 new Boeing 737NGs. The order split consists of 10 Boeing 737-900ERs plus 10 Boeing 737-800s plus 15 options for either aircraft type. This is on top of another order placed by the airline last month for 6 A 319s + 14 A 321s!


Just like when they ordered the A 319s and A 321s a month ago, I am once again stating my opinion which is that this massive fleet expansion by undertaken by TK is unreasonable and they are biting off more than what they can chew! What is the point of ordering B 739ERs when you already have A 321s in the fleet which can easily fly to all the high density short/medium haul destinations with the same payload !

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways has revealed major changes in the GDS for the Summer 2010 IATA season in terms of capacity increases mainly across its medium haul network. The main highlights are as follows:

- capacity increased from March 30th by 40% to 3 weekly B 773ERs + 4 weekly A 346s. Effective June 13th, capacity will be further increased with a 4th weekly flight operated by a B 773ER on Mondays!

- capacity increased from June 7th from daily A 332 to daily nonstop flights using a B 773ER.

- capacity increase effective May 14th from double daily A 332s to 2 weekly A 346s + 12 weekly A 332s.

DUB - frequencies increased from daily to 10 weekly nonstop flights using an A 332.

KHI - capacity increased from daily A 320 to 5 weekly A 320 + weekly A 332 + weekly A 346.


The B 773ERs from LHE will be a 3 weekly same plane service via AUH to YYZ-Toronto where as the A 346s will be a same plane service to JFK. Both moves are meant to severely impact PIA and EK's market share on these sectors with which the right marketing and sales tools can reap high rewards for EY.

FYI, the majority of Pakistanis (65%) residing in NYC and YYZ hail from the Punjab region of Pakistan of which LHE airport is their main gateway point.
It is also worth mentioning that fares to LHE are usually 15% higher versus KHI as well hence higher yielding too for carriers!

British Airways

British Airways has officially revealed major changes to its long haul network for the Summer 2010 IATA season in terms of frequencies and capacity. The main highlights are as follows:

- frequencies reduced from triple daily to double daily flights i.e. 10 weekly B 772ERs + 4 weekly B 744s.

- capacity reduced from daily B 744 to daily B 772ER.

- capacity increased from double daily B 772ERs to daily B 744 + daily B 772ER.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways has officially revealed that it will be suspending all of its flights to KWI-Kuwait City from March 28th after just launching nonstop services on this sector a year prior. No reason has been cited for the move. TG also confirmed that it will be launching new 4 weekly nonstop flights to JNB-Jo'Burg from May 17th from its BKK hub using a Boeing 777-200ER. The flight schedule is as follows:

Days of operation: MON/WED/FRI/SAT

TG 703 Dep BKK 0115 Arr JNB 0730

TG 704 Dep JNB 1340 Arr BKK 0555+1

Thai Airways has officially announced that they will be increasing capacity to Islamabad, Colombo and Chennai from the on set of the IATA Summer 2010 season. All flights to these 3 destinations are currently being flown with an Airbus A 300-600R, however from March 28th, these cities will see flights operated by the larger and more modern Airbus A 330-300. In addition, TG has also announced that it has set aside a budget of US$ 1.1 billion to purchase 15 wide bodied aircraft this year of which it said 8 will be 350 seater aircraft where as the remaining 7 will be 300 seaters. The eight 350 seater aircraft will be exclusively deployed on long haul routes where as the 300 seater aircraft will be used on regional flights within Asia.


For the 350 seater aircraft order, TG should be ordering the Boeing 777-300ER only because it is the ideal aircraft to use on long haul flights to Europe, JNB and Australia versus the Airbus A 340-600. TG has both the B 777s and A 346s in its current fleet but only B 772s. The operating cost of a B 77W versus an A 346 are in favor of the B 77W by nearly 20%.With regards to the cabin configuration, one hopes that TG does not install a first class cabin on board the 350 seater aircraft because it is not needed one bit. It must realize that it is based out of BKK which is primarily a leisure oriented city and not SIN which is a financial hub hence witnessing more premium class travel ! If the B 77W is indeed ordered by TG, the best configuration for it to have on board is 36 business class + 315 in economy class. As far as the 300 seater aircraft is concerned, it would be best to stick to ordering the A 333 of which it already has 15 of in the fleet. These aircraft are needed to gradually fully replace the14 A 300-600Rs being used on domestic and regional Asian routes.

Another thing that TG need to seriously look at is the current configuration of their fleet of 6 A 346s which seats 267 pax with the break up being 8 in first + 60 in business + 199 in economy. Everybody knows that such a configuration for a large aircraft such as the A 346 and for an airline like TG is totally ludicrous because the high volume premium demand isn't that great for the routes that it deploys them on. For it to use the A 346s in a more cost efficient manner on long haul routes, all aircraft should be sent for a cabin re-fit with the configuration being 8 in first class + 36 in business class + 264 in economy class with the total count thus increased from 267 to 308 which is better as it will help bring down operating cost per seat kilometer on long haul routes. There is no need what so ever for TG to have any aircraft in its fleet containing 60 J class seats as the demand isnt there especially in this current economic climate.

Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines has officially announced that it will be increasing frequencies to Melbourne, Australia from the on set of the IATA Summer 2010 season i.e. March 28th. Flights will be increased from the current 11 weekly nonstop services using a Boeing 777-200ER to double daily nonstop using the same aircraft type.

In addition, MH has too confirmed that its flights to HYD-Hyderabad, India will too see an increase from 4 to 5 weekly nonstop flights using a Boeing 737-800.